Downs Link - missing link - now open!

September saw the opening of a previously disused section of the Downs Link on the old Guildford Railway Line behind Christ’s Hospital station. The upgrade – a long-term collaborative project between Christ’s Hospital School and West Sussex County Council – will mean that anyone using the Downs Link between Mill Lane and Christ’s Hospital Station will now be able to do so safely off-road. The works to the ‘missing’ 1.4km section of the Downs Link included repairing two bridges, vegetation clearance, surfacing, drainage and platform repairs. They were jointly funded by Christ’s Hospital School and the County Council and supported by the local community and organisations. The Downs Link is a nationally-important, long distance, shared route connecting the North and South Downs. The Guildford Branch Line was closed in 1965 as part of the Beeching Cuts. The last train ran on 14thJuly 1965 when a group of Christ’s Hospital School pupils decided to mark the occasion by singing “Abide with Me” as the train pulled out of Christ’s Hospital Station. In 2011, Christ’s Hospital purchased a 1.6km section of the former Guildford Branch Line from Christ’s Hospital Station to the A264 Five Oaks Road near Slinfold. This was the start of securing the new route. Since the creation of the Downs Link there has not been an available link along the old railway line to Christs Hospital, so anyone using the route has, in the intervening years, had to resort to using the road for this 1.9km stretch. Christ’s Hospital station can now be safely accessed by bicycle or on foot and walkers, runners, cyclists and horse-riders alike will now be able to enjoy an uninterrupted stretch of the Sussex countryside.

For more information about the Downs Link, including a map of the Christ’s Hospital route, please see: www.westsussex.gov.uk/downslink